Today’s Sluiter Nation Recruit is one of my newest friends.
I met Kacia because I put a tweet out to the interwebs that I was looking for a paci clip that was cute and worked.
I got lots of responses, but for some reason, I clicked through to Kacia’s shop. And then I died of the cute.
I was pretty convinced I was going to go with her leather paci clips, when I started reading about how they want to adopt. As many of you know, we recently welcomed our nephews Kingston and Kyrie into our family from Ethiopia. It astounds me every day how exactly right they are for our family….no. How exactly they ARE our family. How God created MacKenzie and David to be their parents when their birth parents selflessly had to choose to put their precious boys in God’s hands and just trust that he had MacKenzie and David in the wings. It’s amazing to me.
And Kacia was trying to start this journey with her husband and baby daughter.
From that moment, I knew I had met a new friend, not just found a cute online shop.
And what she has brought to my life is priceless. Because while I do my best to promote her shop and help her adoption cause, she has been one of the ladies who started #SheReadsTruth and helped me do something I had been needing/wanting to do for a long time: reconnect with my spiritual side and daily read/study God’s Word.
I am honored that she is here today.
When Katie asked me to write as a Sluiter Nation Recruit, my first response was “seriously? me?” I don’t belong in that calibre of writers.
+ then? She asked me to write about Belonging.
Uff dah. As we Norwegians say.
Let’s go back in time a bit.
It’s middle school. I’m blonde. I’m awkward. + I don’t feel like I belong. Anywhere.
I’m an artist. I’m on the dance team. I sing in the choir.
So how do I define myself?
I struggle with the need for labels + categories + groups.
And then one day. I still remember this day. Sitting at my desk, oh, about halfway back.
A young boy catches my eye.
No, not because he was new or good-looking.
No, not because he was talking or desiring attention.
He caught my eye because in my head I kept hearing
“He is no different than you.”
But then I looked at him.
His clothes were dirty.
His glasses were broken.
His hair seemed a bit greasy.
I argued back:
“But he’s not like me. Look at him.”
“No. He is just. like. you. He is somebody’s baby.”
It hit me.
He was no different than me. None of those categories or groups mattered.
None of those labels defined me.
I didn’t belong anymore than he did, but yet we both did.
In that moment I was placed with a choice as the teacher asked us to choose a partner to work with for a project.
Follow that voice in my head: choose him as my partner.
Follow the girl that wanted to fit in. Follow the voice that said, “no. Don’t do it. Don’t choose him.”
And I write this not as a pat on the back, because oh-do-I-ever-know how often I fell prey to telling + showing others that those definitions were who they were.
But when the teacher asked who my partner would be?
I chose him. + I made a promise to myself that I would try to start seeing people as people. And not the label our society gives them.
Believe me, I often got it wrong. But that choice is always one that rings in my head, reminding me as I’m quick to think + quick to define.
He belongs too. She is someone’s baby, just like you, Kacia. Just like you.
Now as a mom + adult, I want my daughter to see through my actions what I believe to be true. I want her to grow up seeing others as another to love.
We all belong. + we need to start living like it. Each day. Every day.